Magic Missile appearence

I couldn't really figure out what they meant when they said a necromancer's magic missile might appear as a skeletal hand. How is that a missile? Then I realized: you conjure the hand and it gives the target a dope slap!

Definitely makes me want to play a necromancer :D
Wouldn't dope slap deal bludgeoning damage?  
Because it's a MAGIC dope slap, duh.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
The digits of a skeletal hand, or mulitple skeletals hands dig into the targets flesh leaving searing marks as the hand slowly fades away in a whisp of black smoke.
I want to make mine a glowing thumbs up, like that GIF, if anybody is familiar.
I couldn't really figure out what they meant when they said a necromancer's magic missile might appear as a skeletal hand. How is that a missile? Then I realized: you conjure the hand and it gives the target a dope slap!



I prefer the middle finger missile, myself.
Magic missile should be the same for anyone who casts it.  If necromancers want their own themed frequently used attack spell, they can have it, but let's remember that necromancers are wizards, too, and magic missile in its original form should be a sacred cow.
Great. Now I'm picturing the wizard conjuring a miniature cow that flies through the air and strikes the target.
That's pretty funny, but seriously, it's a sacred cow, or a super awesome thing no one should mess with, that kind of thing.
Magic missile should be the same for anyone who casts it.  If necromancers want their own themed frequently used attack spell, they can have it, but let's remember that necromancers are wizards, too, and magic missile in its original form should be a sacred cow.



I think there could be some minor difrences but nothing to big.
For example color changes in the missiles but making them look like hands fingers or cows it becomes to much of a illusion spell for my taste.

I had a campign where each wizard academy/university had it's own collor of magic missle.

 
Magic missile should be the same for anyone who casts it.  If necromancers want their own themed frequently used attack spell, they can have it, but let's remember that necromancers are wizards, too, and magic missile in its original form should be a sacred cow.



I think there could be some minor difrences but nothing to big.
For example color changes in the missiles but making them look like hands fingers or cows it becomes to much of a illusion spell for my taste.

I had a campign where each wizard academy/university had it's own collor of magic missle.

 



That is cool, yeah.
Magic missile should be the same for anyone who casts it.

I do disagree - you should be able to flavor and imagine your attack in any way that doesn't break the boundries of the game (no your magic missile does not make a mushroom cloud). This goes for attacks with a sword, or attacks with a spell.

At least, that's the way I've always (and always will) play it.

Supporting an edition you like does not make you an edition warrior. Demanding that everybody else support your edition makes you an edition warrior.

Why do I like 13th Age? Because I like D&D: http://magbonch.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/first-impressions-13th-age/

AzoriusGuildmage- "I think that you simply spent so long playing it, especially in your formative years with the hobby, that you've long since rationalized or houseruled away its oddities, and set it in your mind as the standard for what is and isn't reasonable in an rpg."

That's why you can create your own spell, or use spell shape.
That's why you can create your own spell, or use spell shape.



Thats still flavouring.  I agree with blacksheep, if I was DMing I would allow the player to describe it how they liked.  I would also let people rename the spell if they chose.  But as always, your campaign, your rules.
That's why you can create your own spell, or use spell shape.



Thats still flavouring.  I agree with blacksheep, if I was DMing I would allow the player to describe it how they liked.  I would also let people rename the spell if they chose.  But as always, your campaign, your rules.



I just don't think the spell itself, in its official text, should have to cover any extra modularity and the spell is particularly important and should be re-presented in its original form, with no chance to miss and multiple 1d4+1's.  Seriously, if you have to roll to hit with the spell, it has been violated.
That's why you can create your own spell, or use spell shape.



Thats still flavouring.  I agree with blacksheep, if I was DMing I would allow the player to describe it how they liked.  I would also let people rename the spell if they chose.  But as always, your campaign, your rules.



I just don't think the spell itself, in its official text, should have to cover any extra modularity and the spell is particularly important and should be re-presented in its original form, with no chance to miss and multiple 1d4+1's.  Seriously, if you have to roll to hit with the spell, it has been violated.

If you are so attached to specific mechanics that you view any change as a "violation" (and that is definitely not overstating, carry on!), then most likely D&D Next will not be for you.  It changes a LOT of mechanics across the board.  Just like I said in your other thread, the purpose of D&D Next is NOT to duplicate or keep specific mechanics from past editions. 

I love that they encourage Players to make the spell unique.  To me, the appearance of a spell is part of a character's flavor just like clothing, hair/eye/skin color, personality, fighting style, etc. 

Well, personally I think a player ought to be able to specify any aspects of the spell that the spell itself doesn't describe. So make the missile whatever color you want, and any shape as long as you can reasonably call it a dart. But if you start making it a screaming skull or a little fist or a cow, I think you've drifted away from the magic missile spell. I'd prefer you to make a new spell (Bigby's Dope Slap?) with equivalent mechanics but a different description.

It matters to me because I think Magic Missile is supposed to be a real element of the game world, not just some mechanics. If my missile looks like a dart and yours looks like a cow, then it's hard for me to see how those correspond to the same element of the world, and it breaks immersion.
A great post.  You should underline the word, immersion.
It matters to me because I think Magic Missile is supposed to be a real element of the game world, not just some mechanics. If my missile looks like a dart and yours looks like a cow, then it's hard for me to see how those correspond to the same element of the world, and it breaks immersion.



If it maintains a rough baseball size to it and hits you without error, then its a magic missile in my book.  If you want it to look like a screaming skull (as a necro) or as a golden fist (my dwarf wizard), so be it.

The reality is, nobody cares.  If you don't describe the magic missile to the group when you shoot it, no one at the table even gives a rat's what it looks like.

∴ "Virtus junxit, mors non separabit." 

A great post.  You should underline the word, immersion.



Or change it to "Flavour".  Its clear that to you and jaelis, Magic Missile is a significant element of your world (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and possibly much right).  But I maintain that is purely part of your world design and campaign flavour.
There's a couple of ways to handle this, and both please players and maintain setting immersion.

1) Define all cosmetic effects by school or other background element. "All Necromancer Magic Missiles look like screaming skulls. All Conjurer Magic Missiles look like an arrow of  bees. All Elven caster Magic Missiles are bolts of shimmering emeral green"
2) Let (one of) the wizard player(s) define what magic missiles in general look like when the campaign starts. 
3) Make it part of the setting that every caster has a unique "signature" magic effect that allows them to be identified. (Interesting intrigue possibilities if someone uses a feat or spell that lets them change that effect and frame one of the PC's...)
Magic missile should be the same for anyone who casts it.  If necromancers want their own themed frequently used attack spell, they can have it, but let's remember that necromancers are wizards, too, and magic missile in its original form should be a sacred cow.



 In every game I've played since AD&D, the Wizard has always described what his Magic Missile looked like, and basically it was always different. Sometimes green, sometimes white, sometimes and "arrow" sometimes just a smooth bolt, sometimes jagged, sometimes a ball, sometimes a skeletal rod, whatever. We've always personalized them.
"If your "immersion" is so fragile that everything must conform to what you think it should sound and look like then that's a you problem, not the game's. Nobody gives a rat's backside what you think it should look like if their character is casting it, and rightfully so."

So, if my character wants to define his greatsword as being a ball of yarn, that's ok, and doesn't hurt the DMs or the players immersion in the game?

And if it's not ok, why not?
That's pretty funny, but seriously, it's a sacred cow, or a super awesome thing no one should mess with, that kind of thing.



3E disagrees,
dndtools.eu/feats/players-guide-to-faeru...

and we gave that to all arcane guys for free if they bothered with writing down descriptions of spells
"If your "immersion" is so fragile that everything must conform to what you think it should sound and look like then that's a you problem, not the game's. Nobody gives a rat's backside what you think it should look like if their character is casting it, and rightfully so."

So, if my character wants to define his greatsword as being a ball of yarn, that's ok, and doesn't hurt the DMs or the players immersion in the game?

And if it's not ok, why not?


Yes.  Why on earth would it not be?
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Sacred cow was being able to describe to taste locking things down is anti imagination
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

"If your "immersion" is so fragile that everything must conform to what you think it should sound and look like then that's a you problem, not the game's. Nobody gives a rat's backside what you think it should look like if their character is casting it, and rightfully so."

So, if my character wants to define his greatsword as being a ball of yarn, that's ok, and doesn't hurt the DMs or the players immersion in the game?

And if it's not ok, why not?


Yes.  Why on earth would it not be?



You give it to them, DemoMonkey!  These people hate immersion.
I'd rather see Magic Missile be described by the player on how he sees the spell being cast by his wizard (or whatever classes get it). To some, they're golden bolts of magic, to others perhaps they're green or blue, and to still others they're small screaming skulls or they trail smoke like real missiles or whatever. The point being that the narrative closely defines what's going on and that the mechanics remain the same. Does it matter that a Necromancer-flavored Wizard magic missile is described as screaming skull strike the target or if an Evoker's magic missile fire from his out-stretched hand like small rockets or even if the Illusionist's magic missile apppear like small sparrow birds that volley with unerring accuracy? If it does then perhaps someone is a tad too invested into what the game is forcing on players.

Further, why is it important for every single magic missile (or really, any spell) to look, appear, and cast in the same exact way 100% of the time by 100% of the spellcasters? Sure does suck out all the flavor and imagination if you ask me.
Sacred cow was being able to describe to taste locking things down is anti imagination



How can you say that?  It just means something that is part of D&D that everyone could agree on.  It was based on looking at what was in print, not on tastes and no one ever said you can't make your own spells or changes.
I'd rather see Magic Missile be described by the player on how he sees the spell being cast by his wizard (or whatever classes get it). To some, they're golden bolts of magic, to others perhaps they're green or blue, and to still others they're small screaming skulls or they trail smoke like real missiles or whatever. The point being that the narrative closely defines what's going on and that the mechanics remain the same. Does it matter that a Necromancer-flavored Wizard magic missile is described as screaming skull strike the target or if an Evoker's magic missile fire from his out-stretched hand like small rockets or even if the Illusionist's magic missile apppear like small sparrow birds that volley with unerring accuracy? If it does then perhaps someone is a tad too invested into what the game is forcing on players.

Further, why is it important for every single magic missile (or really, any spell) to look, appear, and cast in the same exact way 100% of the time by 100% of the spellcasters? Sure does suck out all the flavor and imagination if you ask me.



I still have hope the game will be compatible with every edition, such that a dedicated 1st edition player can sit down and not have to learn any new rules.  That is asking for a lot, I know, and I have been told that I misinterpreted what I read at the beginning of D&D Next's announcement last year, but 4th edition didn't even have saving throws anymore, so what's happening?
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Sacred cow was being able to describe to taste locking things down is anti imagination



How can you say that?  It just means something that is part of D&D that everyone could agree on.  It was based on looking at what was in print, not on tastes and no one ever said you can't make your own spells or changes.



So are we changing goal-posts here? What's the real question? The game will have a description on how Magic Missile looks like in the spell section. It'll probably look like it's always looked like and it probably won't change. For experienced players, they might change the narrative of this spell to better fit a theme they're going for. A wizard who LOVES dragons and is dragon-themed might have his Magic Missile appears as small dragons that fly toward their targets. A Warforged wizard might have his magic missile shoot from a small missile platform off his shoulder. The book says it's one way and that way is to provide a basis for the spell, but I think it would be silly to force every single PC into that definition because it's what the book said. That's not in the spirit of D&D if you ask me.


I still have hope the game will be compatible with every edition, such that a dedicated 1st edition player can sit down and not have to learn any new rules. That is asking for a lot, I know, and I have been told that I misinterpreted what I read at the beginning of D&D Next's announcement last year, but 4th edition didn't even have saving throws anymore, so what's happening?



Um, yes they did. Many spells and powers in the game had Saving Throws. It's just not exactly the same as one person might remember them as it's not based off of your Primary stats or a list of things to save from (like pre-3E). But they were there, used all the time too.
I'd rather see Magic Missile be described by the player on how he sees the spell being cast by his wizard (or whatever classes get it). To some, they're golden bolts of magic, to others perhaps they're green or blue, and to still others they're small screaming skulls or they trail smoke like real missiles or whatever. The point being that the narrative closely defines what's going on and that the mechanics remain the same. Does it matter that a Necromancer-flavored Wizard magic missile is described as screaming skull strike the target or if an Evoker's magic missile fire from his out-stretched hand like small rockets or even if the Illusionist's magic missile apppear like small sparrow birds that volley with unerring accuracy?


It matters to me because there would be no in-game reason for people to use the same language to describe all these fairly different effects. We have different words for bows and crossbows even though they are quite similar, because the are not the same. If players start using "magic missile" to mean "a spell that does unerring 1d4+1 force damage" then they are using magic missile as a mechanical term. Just like if they use 'greatsword' to mean 'a weapon that does 1d12 slashing damage,' then they are using greatsword as a mechanical term.

When I'm playing dnd, I don't want to be constantly reminded that it is all just a bunch of mechanics. I want to represent my character in an imaginary world, acting and saying what would make sense in that world. In that world, a greatsword is a long steel blade that you need two hands to hold, and magic missile is a dart of force. An illusionist wouldn't call a spell that pelts people with sparrows magic missile. He'd call it 'sparrow pelt' or something. A ball of string that somehow did 1d12 damage wouldn't be a greatsword, it would be a kick-ass ball of string.

Just to be clear, if they want to change magic missile to something other than a dart of force, I don't care, myself. All I'm after is that in-game terms have clear and consistent in-game meanings.
Here's the divide in opinion, presented as neutrally as possible.

1) All things releated to a character, including the appearance of all their abilities, should be solely determined by that player. If it is character related it does not pre-exist before they define it.

contrasted to

2) Many of the elements of the world, including the appearance of things, conceptually exists pre-defined and independent of the player characters. If elements of the character deviate from the norm of the setting there needs to be an in-setting reason for it.

These are two very different aesthetic approaches to the game, and which you choose is dependent entirely on what the DM and the players prefer. I lean towards the second myself, but I certainly don't think people who lean towards the first are having terrible games or are terrible people.
It matters because there would be no in-game reason for people to use the same language to describe all these fairly different effects. We have different words for bows and crossbows even though they are quite similar, because the are not the same. If players start using "magic missile" to mean "a spell that does unerring 1d4+1 force damage" then they are using magic missile as a mechanical term. Just like if they use 'greatsword' to mean 'a weapon that does 1d12 slashing damage,' then they are using greatsword as a mechanical term.

When I'm playing dnd, I don't want to be constantly reminded that it is all just a bunch of mechanics. I want to represent my character in an imaginary world, acting and saying what would make sense in that world. In that world, a greatsword is a long steel blade that you need two hands to hold, and magic missile is a dart of force. An illusionist wouldn't call a spell that pelts people with sparrows magic missile. He'd call it 'sparrow pelt' or something. A ball of string that somehow did 1d12 damage wouldn't be a greatsword, it would be a kick-ass ball of string.



There's a couple of fatal flaws in this reasoning though.

1. Bows don't even look alike. Ash, Yew, Elm, curved, recurved, center-fire, off-set fire, etc. Arrows and arrowheads also look very different from different locals/makers. And that doesn't even account for pellet bows. The only commonality is generally a rod, bent somehow by a tensioned string that propels a projectile.

2. Wizards are traditionally tinkerers and often ego maniacs. They want to personalize spells because it shows they can and gives them notariety. While they may often be trying also to create a better version of the spell often times it just ends up being cosmetically different. 

3. The type of magic the Wizard specializes in shapes the spells they use.  A storm mage will generally release energies that look like lightning, etc. A necromancer would not. Wizards are shapers of magic.  

I'd rather see Magic Missile be described by the player on how he sees the spell being cast by his wizard (or whatever classes get it). To some, they're golden bolts of magic, to others perhaps they're green or blue, and to still others they're small screaming skulls or they trail smoke like real missiles or whatever. The point being that the narrative closely defines what's going on and that the mechanics remain the same. Does it matter that a Necromancer-flavored Wizard magic missile is described as screaming skull strike the target or if an Evoker's magic missile fire from his out-stretched hand like small rockets or even if the Illusionist's magic missile apppear like small sparrow birds that volley with unerring accuracy?


It matters to me because there would be no in-game reason for people to use the same language to describe all these fairly different effects. We have different words for bows and crossbows even though they are quite similar, because the are not the same. If players start using "magic missile" to mean "a spell that does unerring 1d4+1 force damage" then they are using magic missile as a mechanical term. Just like if they use 'greatsword' to mean 'a weapon that does 1d12 slashing damage,' then they are using greatsword as a mechanical term.

When I'm playing dnd, I don't want to be constantly reminded that it is all just a bunch of mechanics. I want to represent my character in an imaginary world, acting and saying what would make sense in that world. In that world, a greatsword is a long steel blade that you need two hands to hold, and magic missile is a dart of force. An illusionist wouldn't call a spell that pelts people with sparrows magic missile. He'd call it 'sparrow pelt' or something. A ball of string that somehow did 1d12 damage wouldn't be a greatsword, it would be a kick-ass ball of string.

Just to be clear, if they want to change magic missile to something other than a dart of force, I don't care, myself. All I'm after is that in-game terms have clear and consistent in-game meanings.



And yet that's all these things are, mechanics. But don't worry, I'm pretty sure Magic Missile will be defined and described as it always has in every single edition of the game. And because of that, I'm sure most people will use it as such. Personally, I find that incredibly boring and unimaginative. Magic, to me, isn't always formulaic and/or like a science. It just isn't and it's not reflected that way in my D&D games. If a player wants to change how a spell is described so he can have more fun with it and so long as the mechanics don't change AND that the reflavored stuff fits with the mechanics (fireball deals fire damage) then I don't care if it's a pea-sized ball  that shoots and explodes or if it's fired from his arm canon or if a small fizzure opens up from the elemental plane of Fire and sends forth a blazing inferno that deals the same mechanics as a normal fireball. It won't break my game and we'll all have fun.

Sacred cow was being able to describe to taste locking things down is anti imagination



How can you say that?  It just means something that is part of D&D that everyone could agree on.  It was based on looking at what was in print, not on tastes and no one ever said you can't make your own spells or changes.



So are we changing goal-posts here? What's the real question? The game will have a description on how Magic Missile looks like in the spell section. It'll probably look like it's always looked like and it probably won't change. For experienced players, they might change the narrative of this spell to better fit a theme they're going for. A wizard who LOVES dragons and is dragon-themed might have his Magic Missile appears as small dragons that fly toward their targets. A Warforged wizard might have his magic missile shoot from a small missile platform off his shoulder. The book says it's one way and that way is to provide a basis for the spell, but I think it would be silly to force every single PC into that definition because it's what the book said. That's not in the spirit of D&D if you ask me.


I still have hope the game will be compatible with every edition, such that a dedicated 1st edition player can sit down and not have to learn any new rules. That is asking for a lot, I know, and I have been told that I misinterpreted what I read at the beginning of D&D Next's announcement last year, but 4th edition didn't even have saving throws anymore, so what's happening?



Um, yes they did. Many spells and powers in the game had Saving Throws. It's just not exactly the same as one person might remember them as it's not based off of your Primary stats or a list of things to save from (like pre-3E). But they were there, used all the time too.



No, they don't have saving throws.  They have attack defenses, and they have something new called "the saving throw" that serves all functions.

And yet that's all these things are, mechanics.



Well, we have a difference of opinion on that, I think that they are also story elements.

But DemoMonkey put it very well, and I'm not going to come to your house and make you play how I want. However, I'd just as soon have the game text not call out things that are, for me, immersion breaking.
And what I'm talking about is being able to pick your spells and be able to stick with the ones that were your favorites and your strategies.
Magic missile being described as flaming skulls it was the meat and drink for describe it as you like it all the way back
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

"If your "immersion" is so fragile that everything must conform to what you think it should sound and look like then that's a you problem, not the game's. Nobody gives a rat's backside what you think it should look like if their character is casting it, and rightfully so."

So, if my character wants to define his greatsword as being a ball of yarn, that's ok, and doesn't hurt the DMs or the players immersion in the game?

And if it's not ok, why not?



Silly example is silly. 

Player1: I want my longsword to look like a pigs bladder on a stick!

DM:        No.  Don't be silly.

Player1: *sulk* But you let player2 have his greatsword look like a klingon bat'leth *sulk*

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